September 3rd, 2008

Culture at Our Doorstep

The Hotel Sleep Inn San Jose Downtown is the place for lovers of precolombian art. Within a short walking distance of the hotel is Costa Rica’s renowned Museo de Jade, which is the largest museum collection of jade in the Americas and which contains some of the country’s most valuable and interesting pieces of precolombian jade.

Located in the high-rise national insurance building (El Instituto Nacional de Seguros, or INS) just across the park from the Sleep Inn, the museum is open from Monday through Saturday. Its five-gallery exhibition space traces the origin of jade-work in the country and presents each piece in its historic and archaeological context. Jade, as a material, had particular cultural and religious significance to the native population of Costa Rica. The origins of each of the pieces—many of which were acquired through trade—are often as interesting as the pieces themselves.

The Jade Museum also features works in ceramic, gold, wood and bone. Guided tours are available in both Spanish and English.

Visit the Jade Museum website.

Writing and editing by Beaumont Hardy Editing.

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September 3rd, 2008

The Rainy Season Could be the Right Season for a Trip to Costa Rica

When planning a trip to Costa Rica, vacationers often hope to avoid the rainy season. They imagine waterlogged beaches, muddy walks through the rain forest and unmitigated dreariness. For them, a trip to the tropics should be sunny and rain-free.

However, for those travelers willing to take the wet with the dry, the Costa Rican rainy season can be a wonderful time to plan a trip. The rainy season usually begins in late April and lasts until November. Most mornings are clear and sunny, and the rain normally only starts after lunchtime. An industrious traveler can do a lot of hiking, swimming or sightseeing before the rains even begin each day.

During the rainy season, plants and trees spring back to glorious, verdant life. Rivers are full again, the air is clear and cool, and the vegetation is lush and just what one would expect in the tropics. The rain itself is spectacular. It pounds heavily on streets and sidewalks but is surprisingly warm.

More importantly for travelers, the rainy season can often mean a reduction in prices. Hotel rates tend to be lower at this time of year. Many tourist attractions are less crowded, and travel bargains are more plentiful.

Although the rain makes day-trip planning more uncertain and can adversely affect driving conditions, it can also make for a truly memorable Costa Rican vacation.

Writing and editing by Beaumont Hardy Editing.

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